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Heart & Vascular Institute


Anticoagulation Clinic

Our Anticoagulation Clinic manages nearly 1,200 patients annually who are taking COUMADIN® (Warfarin Sodium Tablets, USP) Crystalline. Patients need to take COUMADIN® because their body may make clots that are not needed, which can result in serious medical problems.

Information about COUMADIN®:

COUMADIN® is used to help prevent and treat clots that can occur in the legs and lungs primarily but can occur in other areas of the body as well. Patients who have an irregular, rapid heart rhythm called "atrial fibrillation" need to take this drug as well as those patients who have certain types of heart valve replacements. COUMADIN® may also be used after a heart attack to lower the risk of another heart attack or stroke.

How COUMADIN® works:

COUMADIN® blocks the formation of Vitamin K dependent blood-clotting factors in the liver. Your body needs Vitamin K in order to form clots.

COUMADIN® does not break up existing clots but can help to stop clots from forming or getting bigger.

IT IS EXTREMELY IMPORTANT TO FOLLOW THE INSTRUCTIONS OF YOUR PHYSICIAN IN TAKING THE PRESCRIBED DOSE OF COUMADIN®. Careful monitoring of blood tests called PT/INR are critical. These tests help the physician to know what dose you should be taking.

In addition, it is extremely important to contact our office if you experience any signs or symptoms of bleeding. These may include:

  • Nosebleeds
  • Throwing up blood
  • Red or dark brown urine
  • Red or black color in your stool
  • Unusually heavy menstrual period
  • Unusual pain or swelling
  • Bleeding from your gums when brushing your teeth
  • Bleeding from shaving or other cuts that don't stop easily
  • Headache, dizziness, or weakness
  • "Purple toes" or death of skin tissue (these are rare but serious side effects)

What else do you need to know?

COUMADIN® interacts with prescription and non-prescription drugs. You should notify our office if you start, stop, or change any drug.

Herbal products can also increase or decrease the amount of COUMADIN® your body needs.

You should eat a balanced diet and maintain a consistent amount of Vitamin K in your diet. Vitamin K is generally found in high amounts in leafy green vegetables, certain legumes, and vegetable oils.

Our Anticoagulation Clinic ranks as one of the top sites in the country for maintaining patients' INR in therapeutic range. When benchmarked against 216,000 patients worldwide, with over 1,700,000 INRs, The Heart Group of Lancaster General Health ranks among the highest in all key indicators for managing these levels.

More information about COUMADIN® can be found at this website.

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